Chronicles of an Amateur Morning Person

“When I wake to see that it’s light out already, I feel the world has started without me.” -- Terri Guillemets

Never have I ever labeled myself an “early bird.” I always considered the morning a period reserved for overly-ambitious roosters and over-caffeinated Wall Street execs.

My encounter in Ghana with a lil feathery neighbor that was particularly active around 4am confirmed my beliefs about roosters and mornings. However, my meeting with my new feathery friend helped me realize that maybe I could take a crack at this “early bird” thing too. 4am probably wouldn't be my forte, but rolling out of bed in time with the early morning waves could be. And hey, mornings mean sipping coffee from cute oversized mugs, right? I like coffee.

Part of this adjustment to becoming a morning person happened naturally, as the Ghanaian sun set around 6:30 at night and the pitch-black sky had me yawning 2 hours later. Still, transitioning my college student body into “grandma mode” for an entire summer, as we called it, made for an interesting wake-up call when it came time to go back to school. Hitting the sack early felt as foreign as living in a West African country. Getting enough sleep? Laughable.

Still, a bit of my grandma self tried to hang on. She may not be waking up like she did in her summer prime, but you better believe she’s up and at it by 8. After I stopped hitting snooze during my mornings, a couple of interesting things happened…


  1. I felt more energized. Instead of rolling out of bed still half-groggy with a slight case of bedhead, getting up earlier allowed my body a little extra time to wake itself up. Now, I might even retain a tidbit or two from my 9:30 lectures. Plus, coffee. We may not be Wall Street execs (yet?), but we sure can caffeinate like the best of them.
  2. There were more hours in my day. Okay, not exactly. My days didn’t magically extend themselves or decide to linger around for 25 hours instead of 24, but it sure seemed like it when I had an extra hour or so to spare before class. I could fit a couple more things in that, by themselves didn’t seem like much, but made a world of difference when I wasn’t trying to cram them in later when my brain was already fried.
  3. I had time to relax. In Ghana, this meant flipping through titles from my long-forgotten list of books to read “For Fun” or going for a jog. At Notre Dame, this means sitting down for a quiet breakfast (most important meal of the day, kids!), dialing in to update my mom on the hardcore college life, or even just taking a quick sec to organize my week ahead.

All in all, I’ve got a bit of work to do before I can crown myself a “morning person”… but for now I’ll settle for amateur status. Even if it’s just setting your alarm back 20 minutes earlier than usual, I encourage you to do the same. You’d be surprised at all the good a little extra time can do.

And besides, who can say no to a grandma?


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Images: 1, 3, others provided by author